Surviving The Charade – We’re Never Coming Home

Surviving The Charade Online Promo Shot

First impressions of We’re Never Coming Home, the debut album from Swedish melodic metallers Surviving The Charade, went from being slightly underwhelmed to inexcusably captivated as it revealed more about the qualities and imagination of the band with each and every track. Given numerous excursions through the ears, the ten track encounter has become a rigorously impressive and exciting proposition for imagination and emotions. Certainly it still has thoughts questioning and succumbing to occasional reservations, but with the voracious inventiveness and surging potential which soaks the band both Surviving The Charade and We’re Never Coming Home have emerged as incitements to get increasingly excited about.

Formed in 2008, the Stockholm sextet took little time in awakening a potent fanbase and attention with first EP Your Breath Smells Like Ben & Jerry’s. Its strong presence was more than matched by the band’s live performances which continued to draw eager followers towards their striking emergence. The following We Refuse To Stand In EP continued their rising success as did the band’s appearances at prominent festivals and supporting metalcore greats Adept. 2013 saw Surviving The Charade drop in on England to record We’re Never Coming Home with producer John Mitchell at Outhouse Studios (Architects, Enter Shikari, You Me At Six, etc.). Infusing inspirations from the likes of Asking Alexandria and Architects into their sound, Surviving The Charade provide an intriguing weave of textures and flavours within their first album, a web which as mentioned impresses and at times has you wondering but persistently leaves ears and attention captivated.

The title track starts things off and this is where that initial felling of being underwhelmed initiated. Certainly the opening of crystalline DVDAXXX2XX.pdfkey cast melodies set before vocals squalls from a distant ledge is an enticing lead into the accomplished and skilfully crafted song but subsequently it is a formulaic encounter which barely hints at the real adventure to come. Nevertheless with punchy rhythms from drummer Sebastian Brydniak framing the evocative narrative impressively led by the clean vocals of Simon Brantklev, the track is an imposing introduction which with its brief length is the right way to look at it even though it kind of gives the wrong impression of the album ahead.

Classically bred keys grasp the ears first as Shout, Walls, Shout! erupts, a startling unexpected grab of the imagination which soars over the hostile raw squalls of the band’s other vocalist Daniel Rotstam. It is a pungently dramatic and creative entrance to the song though some of that potency is lost as it then relaxes into a more straight forward melodic metal stride. To temper that though the bass of Fredric Fji Johansson gnaws at the senses whilst the guitars of Fredrik Brollin and Viktor Lundberg grind, whine, and croon with acute devilry. It is a formidable suasion which leaves its predecessor quite pale in comparison, though as skilled and commanding as the music is, it is the vocals which steal the show, the clean tones of Brantklev a transfixing caress and the roars in great variety from Rotstam carnivorously appealing if not always fully successful.

The following Above The Skyline stomps and seduces with a blend of classically bred elegance and ferocious antagonism vocally and musically, hooks and melodies in as much abundance and strength as heavily swiping rhythms and savage riffs. It is a riveting encounter which lurches at and romps with the senses in an evolving gait but lacks the spark which lit up its predecessor. It does give another flavoursome taste to an already established appetite for the release though which is soon enriched by the outstanding Shotgun Wedding Bride. From its first breath the song is ripping at the jugular with sinewed sculpted riffs and rhythms courted by caustic vocals whilst a haunting melody teases above the ravenous persuasion. The body of the track has a post hardcore hostility to its rabidity which takes on another depth of angst and ferociousness behind the clean seducing of Brantklev which in also seems to inspire a creative rapaciousness from the stabs of Brydniak and the varied snarls from Rotstam. It is a tremendous brawl which reveals the rich promise of the band ahead and their quality now.

The initial voracious intensity and Meshuggah like blaze The Diary Of Frosty Jack keeps ears and passions feverish with its truculent sonic and rhythmic intent, though the cleaner passages whilst adding further poetic toxicity defuse the breath-taking intimidation a tad. It is another immensely satisfying onslaught though, which as across the album, for every moment where things lack certain potency or success in their twists there is a horde of highly inventive, captivating sounds and ideation to enthral thoughts and emotions.

The vivaciously anthemic Here We Stand where emotive melodies and fiery harmonies stake their lingering claim on the imagination within a maelstrom of predacious intensity leaves imagination and attention exhausted next. Of. It is a tremendous fire enticing creative thought with a dramatic presence which leaves the next up Broken Glass a real test to emulate, which it almost does with its robust and blistering contagion within a continually shifting storm of emotive melodic grace and adversarial spite.

The predatory metalcore spawned sound of Dance For Messiah brings another inventive tempest to explore though it fails to enslave the passions with either the lingering vitriol or infectiousness of other songs. It is full of great and skilfully executed twists and turns but feels too familiar in its overall body of sound ultimately, thus feeding expectations somewhat. It also suffers lying between the previous pair of songs and Like Animals. Virulently infectious and strikingly inventive, the track is a relentlessly evolving dervish of argumentative seduction and amicable ingenuity, a song which if human would be classed as schizophrenic for many thrilling reasons. It is an outstanding slab of captivation, everything about it sensational and the best thing on the album.

The closing The Night We All Forgot is a song which may be should not work but does. Its opening chorus of vocals and throaty basslines is so obvious that you feel the band is just going for an easy exit, but then things turn into a threatening stretch of savagery vocally and musically that you swiftly reassess. The song continues to change and bewilder, its melodic almost pop infused moments an unsure success and its vicious inhospitable pillaging irresistible, whilst combined they ebb and flow in persuasion. It is whole though the song is a fixture in mind and emotions long after its departure so that like the album no matter any doubts it is an undeniable triumph.

It is hard not to get excited about the future of Surviving The Charade and to cast a keen anticipation for their next releases on the back of We’re Never Coming Home, a reaction we expect a great many to find through this gripping encounter.

We’re Never Coming Home is available from Monday 2nd June through all digital stores.

http://survivingthecharade.com/

8.5/10

RingMaster 01/06/2014

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Icons – Lifesigns EP

Icons band

Crafting their own very appetising take on metalcore, UK band Icons certainly on the evidence of their latest EP Lifesigns, has a potentially rich and potent future ahead of them. Consisting of four tracks which rage at, coax in, and invigorate the senses, the release is a sizeable introduction to the Leicester hailing metallers. It is fair to say that there is not a major expulsion of genre shaking invention or sounds from band on the release but plenty to suggest that the quintet is capable of such feats in the future as they evolve and hone their songwriting.

Formed in 2011, Icons has earned a strong reputation with their live performances alongside bands such as Bleed From Within, Hacktivist, Martyr Defiled, Continents, Giants and Napoleon. With a collective blend of inspirations from the likes of The Ghost Inside, Architects, Parkway Drive, Periphery, Northlane, Bleed From Within and Heart of a Coward, the five piece conjure up propositions which certainly do not slip past ears and attention easily. Their songs provide a skilfully layered alignment of sounds and textures; hooks and rhythms spearing the creative landscape with equal purpose and passion to the voracious vocals. It is a raw and uncompromising endeavour but one with a wealth of enticements to seduce and transfix the imagination.

Opener Cataclysm strides into view with jack booted rhythms and a caustic sonic haze, its infectious enticing soon permeating ears and Icons Lifesigns EP Covereagers thoughts. Taking a breath to establish its intent, the track then winds its sinewed riffs around the senses as the beats of Alan Forrest punch with a sure antagonistic touch. It is fiery bait which is soon under the squalling vocals attack of Neil Vernon, his coarse roars a scathing incitement within the emergence of sonic enterprise cast by guitarists Nick Toutjiaris and Joe Newman. Clean vocals join the picture next to bring a warm temperance to the still blustery gruff narrative, the union of both within the creative tempest of sound stalked by the great throaty bass provocation of bassist Chris Riley, magnetic in the least and thrilling in its strongest moments. As proven across the whole release though the ‘weakest’ elements are those vocals, both clean and raw deliveries undeniably potent instigators of the lyrical climate but at times landing wide of the levels musically the track elevates to.

Though the next up Fall of Avarice offers a similar scenario, it is not as big an issue as it might suggest with both styles working well enough but a further honing to rest easier within the maelstrom of inventive sound whilst still achieving their intensive aims would seem a wise move. The second track twists and flirts with the senses through intensive riffs, muscular rhythms, and a rigorously designed entanglement of sonic enterprise which holds the imagination capture from its opening play. The cleaner group vocal calls work perfectly it has to be said providing an anthemic pull which further entices the appetite to reconfirm that those vocal nags are minor for the main.

The latest single, Helios steps up next with viciously shaped grooves and melodic shards of adventure, the combination another easily accessible lure to immerse bravely within. The track creates scenery of emotive reserve and ravenous spite, both evocative propositions which merge fluidly together as the sounds expand their resourceful premises. It is not as striking and imposing as the previous songs with the vocals again raising small questions but still a song sparking keen attention and a lingering success for itself and band which is very easy to often return to.

The closing Hitch 22 opens on a rugged storm of strictly invasive riffs, deeply barbed hooks, and a contagious rabidity which instantly secures focus and hunger. Stretching its muscle flexing arms around the ears, the song proceeds to jab and scythe its way into the passions whilst simultaneously lighting the imagination with gentle but evocative short melodies and again superb group vocals, something they should definitely employ much more. The best track on the EP, it is a skilled cantankerous maelstrom which engrosses from start to finish and almost alone reveals all the promise within Icons to indicate that they are a real prospect as an emerging force.

There is plenty more within Icons to come, a continued evolution needed to see the band find a spotlight outside of the crowd but Lifesigns indicates that all the weaponry and craft is there waiting to be bred into something unique as it provides a very satisfying and enjoyable base to start from.

The Lifesigns EP is available now @ http://iconsuk.bandcamp.com/ as a buy now name your price download.

http://www.facebook.com/Iconsmetal

8/10

RingMaster 15/05/2014

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Seizing time and opportunities: an interview with Enfeeble

enfeeble

German metallers Enfeeble might still be a bit of a secret to the wider metal world but with new album Encapsulate This Moment they have made a potent statement which should grip a stronger attention. It is an album which arguably does not quite fulfil the open potential of the band and their blend of melodic and heavy metal with metalcore predaciousness, but certainly makes a potent impact and in hindsight a lingering lure which brings you back to its compelling confrontation time and time again. Wanting to find out more about the band we had the pleasure to ask guitarist Pascal (Baal) Stafflage and the band about the origins of Enfeeble, their new album, life for a metal band in their hometown, and much more…

Hi and many thanks for taking time out to talk with us.

Firstly can you tell us how the band and its members came together?

It was a few years ago in 2005…Luke was the singer of the school band and I was looking for a singer and guitarist for a new band. I asked Luke if he wants to start a band with me and he was excited directly. A drummer and bassist were found quickly and so we started as a small punk rock band. In the coming years we’ve had many changes on bass and drums. Since the beginning of 2013 we are the current cast.

Did you have any deliberate idea or direction for Enfeeble from the start?

Absolutely no…We started as a punk rock band (like Sum 41, Blink 182…) in 2005 and somehow we grew old and became some sort of metalheads with a little bit of punk rock influence. With the fast and harder music, we feel more comfortable.

You come from the Lingen in Germany. What is it like in the town and surrounding areas for a band trying to emerge?

Really bad to be honest…This whole area has a couple of metalheads but unfortunately most of them retain to a special kind of genre and it´s not our genre. Maybe it’s the country life here. We have no idea what it is. Therefore, we travel a lot around the country.

coverYou have just released your second album Encapsulate This Moment; how do you see the evolution of your sound to it from your debut full-length Too Ugly to Show it!?

We never really see the evolution ´cause we are right now in this process of evolving. But when you compare Too Ugly To Show It and Encapsulate This Moment you can hear that we have become more “metal” and try to improve our skills at our instruments all the time.

Did you approach the new release any differently to the previous album, whether through simply the experience of previously recording something or to achieve something specific?

We have changed the bass player, drummer, studio and attitude. So you can see…almost everything. The result is Encapsulate This Moment…A significant improvement.

With its strong blend of aggression and grooved endeavour, did you find yourself developing a broader bravery in your songwriting for the new album than ever before?

Of course… Almost every month we find new bands and therefore new influences. The songwriting is affected by this as well. And we try to sound unique as every other band to.

What were the biggest inspirations for the album musically and lyrically?

Musically it´s some bands like Killswitch Engage, Protest The Hero, Dream Theater or Threat Signal.

The lyrics were also created by experiences of everyday life.

How does the songwriting process work within Enfeeble?enfeeble3

We got some different ways. Either we play all together and discuss every part and the arrangement. Or Baal writes a song and we refine just a few parts or Baal and Luke sit together on a weekend locked up from the world only surviving with pizza, beer and energy drinks.

Did you find the tracks developing new characters during the studio process or stayed pretty much as intended going into the situation?

We worked together with Jörg from Soundlodge studios and he gave us some of his advice and we rewrote some parts. It was a very inspiring and enjoyable time with Jörg. We learned a lot and had good experiences.

The album has an invigorating rawness to its breath; did you do anything in particular to encourage this aspect?

Luke has a raw natural voice. No fake – All original. Maybe if he starts with smoking and whisky drinking, he becomes the new Lemmy. Just a little big joke :-) Honestly we would not change much on the vocals. Only improve, not change.

Was anything learnt during recording Encapsulate This Moment which surprised you and will be taken into your next release?

Less is more! Some parts, where we have had some double bass and blastbeats are now a standard rock beats. But in the mix it sounds a lot heavier. That was an important experience for us.

For us it is the title track to the album which gives us thrilling chills, is there any moment or essence of the album which gives you extra satisfaction?

Maybe it´s A Million Voices, because the song is really complex in itself and it’s always fun to play it. But also As We Were Like Shadows ´cause it has a personal story and Luke has sung it so fucking beautifully that Baal was crying in the studio. (Beautiful bastard).

You have a strong reputation for your live performances, a different proposition to the studio of course but do you think you captured that same intensity and honest raw quality on the album also this time around?

We guess not. We are always a bit nervous on stage but we believe that we also therefore play with so much energy.

Talking of shows how is 2014 planning out so far for the band ahead?

We already have some confirmed dates. However, we continue to search for new performances… Also internationally. Current dates are always on our website http://www.enfeeble.de

Back to Encapsulate This Moment; tell us about the striking artwork for the album.

We had the luck, to work together with Björn Goosses of Killustration. We had an artwork in our minds but his suggestion (what he thought when he thinks of Encapsulate This Moment) was just perfect for us.

enfeeble 2What comes next for Enfeeble other than shows?

We are working on new songs for the third album. We want to hit the studio in the beginning of 2015. Maybe by then we have found a label who wants to work with us. That would be a dream come true.

Thanks once again for chatting with us, any last thoughts or words you would like to finish with?

Encapsulate all your moments! And thanks a lot for the interview.

https://www.facebook.com/EnfeebleOfficial

Read the review of Encapsulate This Moment @ http://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/03/07/enfeeble-encapsulate-this-moment/

Pete Ringmaster

The Ringmaster Review 27/03/2014

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Echoes – The Pursuit

 

echoes_2

Whether the music or band name came first is something to ask in the future but certainly the sonic tempest of sound which progressive hardcore/post metal band Echoes casts over air, senses, and emotions is a resonating and lingering incitement which leaves little room for respite in its oppressively smothering presence. The Pursuit, the debut album from the UK quintet, thrusts the band into the imagination and mistrust though the latter is not a concern for the undoubted technical and imaginative craft of the band or of their emotively intrusive exploration, just a wariness of the damage the erosive might and intrusive rabidity of the release is treating senses and psyche to The ten track immersion is not an easy listen at times, not a merciful encounter which allows senses to breath and regain a foothold in its caustically acidic soundscape, but one which captivates with just a few reservations.

Taking inspirations from the likes of Devil Sold His Soul through to Hans Zimmer, Echoes emerged in 2010 with the intent ‘to create a sound that is entirely true to them’. Undertaking a gigging regime as intensive as their sound, the band has played around the UK and Europe numerous times, taking in over 150 shows and sharing stages with bands such as Devil Sold His Soul, Feed The Rhino, Heights, and Our People Vs Yours along the way. Intensively created across time and effort, The Pursuit lays down a potent marker and imprint as the band forges another potent step in their ascent. It is a sonically carnivorous encounter, one with a hunger which consumes with little consideration for emotional relief in its recipients but one which even in its suffocating dark depths infuses a melodic hope and positivity, just no respite.

Opener Empty Lungs has no care for a gentle coaxing into its maelstrom of enslaving textures and atmospheric voracity, the guitars of FRONT Packcover (hi-res)Angus Cadden and Karl Koch an immediate grazing courted by the intimidating throat of the bass of Steve Tolloczko and the predatory rhythmic challenge of Oliver Todd. The sonic submergence is like a free fall for the senses until they reach the passionate raw squalls of vocalist Joshua Thurbin where intensity engulfs before spreading out into more restrained but just as intrusively testing scenery. The slow immersive crawl of the track which takes over is as magnetic as the previous vitriolic incitement was violently bracing, their subsequent merging a stimulating canvas for imagination and emotions to place their own narrative before being dosed in that provided by Thurbin. It is an exacting experience but one, which as the album, over time unveils the richest persuasion and understanding upon the emotions.

As the first track drifts away the following Leaving None Behind flows in, a commanding but respectful acridity wrapping ears before the raising of an intensive temperature which itself flows into another melodic caress with sinister shadows. Again the track takes time to share all of its rewards but does so eventually as the guitars and rhythms sculpt a powerfully evocative landscape to ponder and explore. The following title track is similarly a long term investigation and journey but one which mentally ignites thoughts and feelings as rigorously as it does physically. Like the album, it is impossible not to fall into the immersive ambient depths of the song even as the sonic endeavour sears and scars.

Both Honour Lost and Rivers takes things up another level, or is that down, to darker intimidating corners; the first a bordering on anthemic engagement of group calls vocally aligned to an imaginative and harsh traverse of raw climates whilst its successor provides an initially muscular confrontation which evolves  impressively into an expanse of crystalline intrigue and shimmer mystique within a rhythmic sky which is always mere seconds from inviting a fury of vocal angst and voracious sonic design. The pair are the most potent and thrilling provocations stretching the already accomplished thought and passion of the band musically and emotionally.

As stated The Pursuit is not the most painless proposition, though there is never a second where adventure and unpredictability do not reign, but there are elements which prevent it scaling the heights of personal acclaim which it could have deserved. The lacking of truly memorable moments other than the just mentioned songs does leave it standing out against other contenders, as does the fact that it is easy to lose yourself within its familiarity s at times songs are hard to distinguish from others without purposeful attention.  Also the vocals of Thurbin make the release a struggle at times as in For What It’s Worth and the beginning of the following and thrilling Wooden Hearts as examples. Certainly his delivery and craft is impressive and potent to match the fire of the music and invention, but without a lack of diversity, only occasional additional group additives giving that, it does leave that part of songs a little one dimensional though certainly also passion drenched. It does not prevent the album from stirring up appetite and eager emotions for itself though.

Safe it Seems bursts in next to rage and snarl at the senses, anger and reflection soaking every syllable and note within another pleasing tempestuous range of piercing sonic peaks and lush melodic hues. Its drama clad presence is instantly tempered by the opening ambient caress and floating melancholia of Navigate, the piece a vision inspiring instrumental with scathing edges to its elegant beauty. It is the one time the album allows breathing to be engaged in without a savage incursion; that left to the closing See & Believe to explore within its emotively intense and creatively vibrant body. It is a powerful finale to a striking full debut. There are elements where the release could have truly stolen the passions and misses out but The Pursuit still leaves you eager to invest in its consumptive depths, even if nervously, and push Echoes into a band to fully recommend.

http://www.weareechoes.com/

7.5/10

RingMaster 24/03/2014

 

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Set To Break – Redemption

Set To Break Online Promo Shot

  Metalcore is one of those genres where it is not stale but it does seem to be under a general umbrella of similarity across certainly emerging bands. One unit which looks like having the sound and potential to buck that trend is Welsh metallers Set To Break. The band with the unleashing of their debut EP Redemption, do not yet stand distinctly apart from the rest but as shown by the six ferocious expulsions masquerading as songs, there is something uniquely compelling brewing within their passion soaked craft and sonic violence. The Imperial Music released fury is an expressive battering ram upon the senses and an encounter which sparks a healthy appetite for the band and their future.

     Hailing from Bridgend, Set To Break was formed last year by five friends who wanted ‘to create music that ripped apart the standard formulae of metalcore, yet remained true to the band’s influences and beliefs.’ It was not long before the quintet of vocalist George Ross, guitarists Shaun Owens and Craig Owens, bassist Dan Charles, and drummer Rhys Morgan were building a potent reputation across Wales and the south of England, sharing stages with bands such as Crossfaith, Heart Of A Coward, Malevolence, and The Charm The Fury along the way. Infusing inspirations from bands like Parkway Drive, August Burns Red, and Continents into their own inventive premises, Set To Break signed to Imperial Music who got one of their tracks placed on a Metal Hammer Magazine cover mounted CD. The band next entered the studio with Jonny Renshaw (Devil Sold His Soul) to record Redemption, a release which easily marks out the band as a target for attention and enthusiastic anticipation towards their horizons.

    The brief opener Lost draws the imagination into the depths of the release, its melodically cast emotive dawning courted by Set To Break Cover Artworkresonating rhythms and intrigue drenched evolving drama. As the piece stretches its height and intensity, an intimidating atmosphere soaks ears and senses, its arms wrapping intimidatingly around thoughts as sonic endeavour veins the dark climes spawning the portentous adventure. The coarse angst drenched squalls of Ross add further corrosive emotion to it all before the track makes way for the excellent Made To Suffer. The new track submerges ears in an expanse of crisply delivered antagonistic rhythms and predatory riffing driven by guttural washes of vocal vehemence. There is also a persistent if understated groove which teases and hints throughout the tempestuous incitement. It all merges for a contagious enveloping of the senses but one enriched with magnetic enterprise and exhausting energy. The song is an excellent draw into the imaginative aggressive world of Set To Break, and immediate suggestion of something different and exciting to this new metallic force.

      The following Paid Pride is a less imposing treat than its predecessor, though it does not skimp on sinew and intense provocation. The track twists and meanders with deliberate restraint and heightened emotive investigation as the sonic guitar sculpting adds rich hues to the gripping canvas of the song. It is not as dramatically gripping as the previous track but still lays down a masterful and enthralling narrative to immerse within. Its position between the excellent second song and the brilliant Ulterior Motives does it no favours either though it fights its corner well and satisfyingly before the next track explodes in the passions. Ulterior Motives has a carnal breath to its bestial intrusiveness, an opening melodic acidity and beauty merging with guttural vocal bruisings and overbearing rhythms. The new provocation then launches into a groove led chorus which has a definite familiarity to it, vocally and musically with Slipknot the most obvious comparison. This only adds to the strength of the track, its consistently shifting and changing attack an unpredictable and riveting onslaught furthering still the uniqueness of the band amongst other metalcore provocateurs.

     The EP is completed by Khan and Bermuda, two pleasing and expertly crafted furies but neither stepping into the distinctively inventive fields of the earlier songs. To be fair the two songs easily captivate and impress but that spark which sets the band apart is not as prominent and gripping within them, though the keys and furious intensity of the first of the two and the group confrontation of the second certainly keeps the hunger for the band alive and greedy.

    Redemption is an excellent debut from a band which we can be certain of hearing plenty more of ahead. Set To Break reek of the promise of greater and more special incitements to be discovered within their already creative quality and voraciousness; watch this space and enjoy is our recommendation.

http://www.facebook.com/settobreak

8/10

Ringmaster 17/03/2014

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Havenside – Living Our Darkest Days

band

    Formed in 2006, US band Havenside has become an invigorating excitement for ears but never quite made that big step into the strongest spotlight. Forging a ferocious mix of metal and hardcore, the band certainly across their previous three albums has sculpted persistently pleasing results from within their continuing rich potential but without lighting the major fires they suggest they are capable of. Their fourth album Living Our Darkest Days is in also a little guilty of not truly exploiting the promise and undeniable quality of the band but it certainly makes a strong fist of its attempt. The twelve track slab of sonic savagery and antagonistic vitality seizes ears and imagination from its first ravenous minute never relinquishing its grip until the final seconds. There are a few ‘ailments’ you can lay against the otherwise impressive encounter but the Sacramento has still crafted their finest moment yet to worry those higher echelons of recognition.

    Formed in 2006 by vocalist Brandon Wells, Havenside despite going through a few line-up changes has earned a fine reputation LODD_HighRes_Coverfor their ferocious sound and stage presence, not forgetting their well-received albums. Released via Innerstrength Records, Living Our Darkest Days is the Californian quintet’s fourth full-length fury, an intensive bruising to fire up appetites and emotions. The album takes little time to ravage ears as opener Indisputable from a distant squall launches a violent tirade upon the senses; riffs and rhythms aligned to lethally rapacious vocal spite producing an immediate savagery. The rigid antagonistic riffery of Casey Mann and Nik Santos churns up and chews on synapses with their heavily laden vitriol whilst the bass of Jordon Morch snarls with bestial rage alongside. It is a towering mix under the drive of the crippling rhythms of drummer Jaramia Bond, a thrust given a rabid head by the raw tones of Wells. Grooves threaten to break free from the tempest at times, teasing with their presence but never given full rein by the weight of the song. It is an intriguing and satisfying start which suggests more than it delivers but all the same grabs attention and enjoyment.

   Featuring Rob McCarthy (ex-Lionheart), The Broken storms in next, a winding groove given licence to twist around the imagination as the rhythms punch a frame around their lure. With Wells unleashing a malicious combativeness, the track plunders the senses with invention and voraciousness like an agitated leviathan. It is a spiteful yet magnetic provocateur raising the stakes for the passions to embrace. Its tempestuous qualities and strength is soon matched by the following Despised and then left behind by the excellent Things Will Never Change. The first of the two, like its predecessor, casts grooves and hooks within an intense cyclone of aggression and though the song does not quite have the bait to spark the same depth of reactions as the first pair, it has plenty to keep a hunger brewing. By this point a surface similarity coats the songs which does not deter or disappoint but does suggest some of the reason that the album does not explode in the passions as strongly as it should. The second of these two tracks is the exception and shows what is possible. Grazing and brawling with the ears from its first breath, the song instantly has something about it which is different and bold, drawing in the imagination ready for the excellent twist of clean backing vocals. Flinging sinews and malevolent attitude lyrically and musically around, the track has a swagger and swerving flow to its body which ripples and enthrals, the track moving away from the more metalcore premise of other tracks. It is a glorious incitement and one easy to hope the band explore further.

    Both the intimidating Unite & Conquer and the almost danceable, almost, Standing Your Ground Pt. 2 prey on the listener next, both accomplished and severe examinations which pale against the previous song but stand tall alone, before the first single from the album stomps forward. Stronger Everyday is a fiery and formidable encounter which lurches over and traps attention with its keen and resourceful animosity, providing another worthwhile wounding for the senses.

     The outstanding pair of King By Destruction and Supplicator soon put the last song in a shadow with their adventure and intensity. The first with a pack like stalking from its rhythms and riffs, nags and provokes with purposeful intent but it is the small melodically bred sonic veining and assisting clean vocals which lift the track from the rest, that and the increasing dramatic imagination and diversity which ignites the latter part of the song. Its successor is a swift explosion of bad blood, an excellent unpredictable tirade focusing on the more hardcore heart of the band. Like the last, it further suggests the expansive elements of the songwriting and sound within Havenside, something still not allowed enough freedom for us.

    The final trio of songs ensure the release ends on a strong footing if slightly underwhelming compared to previous songs. Composure rants and riles against the listener musically and lyrical in fine style with flashes of intrigue lighting up its war whilst Curse, which sees a guest appearance from Howie Favichia of Lifeforms, from a fascinating melodic intro crafts a brutality which scavenges emotions. Again there are great glimpses of emprise to the engagement though never anything truly pushed to its limits. Final song Refuse To Sink brings Living Our Darkest Days to an uncompromising and pleasing end if again without realising or exploring the full promise of its invention.

    The track sums up the album, a song which impresses and crafts some strikingly imaginative moments but seems afraid to unleash the creative beast inside. Living Our Darkest Days is a thoroughly engaging proposition all the same, Havenside at its best but still with some potential to unleash…that something to eagerly wait for.

https://www.facebook.com/havensideofficial

http://innerstrengthrecords.bandcamp.com/music

8/10

RingMaster 12/03/2014

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SET TO BREAK poised to show ‘Redemption’, on Monday 17th March‏

Set To Break Online Promo Shot

 

 

DEBUT EP NATIONALLY RELEASED THIS SPRING!

 

High Flying South Wales metalcore crew Set To Break drop their explosive debut EP Redemption on Monday 17th March, through Imperial Music.

Bridgend bruisers Set To Break were spawned at the foot of 2013 by long-time friends George Ross (Vocals), Rhys Morgan (Percussion), Dan Charles (bass), Shaun Owens (guitar) and Craig Owens (guitar), who wanted to create music that ripped apart the standard formulae of metalcore, yet remained true to the band’s influences and beliefs. The band soon found their feet, and began to widely play throughout the heart of their native Wales and southern England, landing support slots with the likes of Crossfaith, Heart Of A Coward, Malevolence and The Charm The Fury. With their eclectic leanings straddling many areas, the band pull inspiration from the likes of Parkway Drive, August Burns Red and Continents, while they find their own characteristic voice in the alchemy of creating music.

Set To Break were soon snapped up by Imperial Music, who placed a track of theirs on the cover CD of Metal Hammer Magazine, and subsequently booked the band into Bandit Studios with Jonny Renshaw (Devil Sold His Soul) behind the desk. After relentless sessions, the quartet produced their debut EP entitled ‘Redemption’, and it’s purely intoxicating. From the first notes of the progressively textured ‘Lost’, to the breathtaking ‘Made To Suffer’, which pitches gut-wrenching vocals against veracious guitar lines, and on to the low slung pounding groove of ‘Paid Pride’, it’s evident that Set To Break have forged something special. ‘Ulterior Motives’ continues to compound the band’s potency with its sheer power and layered guitar work, while their recent single ‘Khan’ shifts gears, incorporating subtle piano with stunning dynamics. Last up, ‘Bermuda’ closes the EP in style with its blistering riffs and fiery drive. The UK noise tyrants will now head for the road as they prime to break to a national level.

= SET TO BREAK RELEASE ‘REDEMPTION’ ON MONDAY 17TH MARCH THROUGH ALL STORES =

Set To Break Cover Artwork

Sceptre – Age Of Calamity

Sceptre

    Laying another huge prod on the world as the metal scene in India shows its current strength, thrashers Sceptre release their second album Age Of Calamity, a release which launches a blistering display of rhythmic and sonic predation to easily win over the passions. An album of ten stirring tempests, it is a skilled and inventive provocation which though maybe not ground-breaking makes for an exciting and enterprising treat. The craft and formidable accomplished statue of the album is not really a surprise since the band has been a major force in the Indian metal underground since forming in 1998. That time has only seen a single EP and album spread the word to the outside though, something which has not unsurprisingly yet achieved the strongest success in spreading the word further afield but with this impressive new assault maybe the Mumbai quartet’s time to waken the world to their presence has come.

      Sceptre has gone through a few line-up changes over the past fifteen years whilst forging a strong live reputation which has been enhanced by their self-titled EP of 1999 and more so with the debut album Now or Never which came out in 2008. Now with a line-up of vocalist Samron Jude, guitarist Gilroy Fernandes, bassist Janus Sayal, and drummer Aniket Waghmode, the band make a loud and formidable statement with Age Of Calamity that cannot be ignored. Exploring a concept of attitudes towards women and society in general, the former an evocative and highlighted situation in regard to India over recent times in the eyes of the world, the album pulls no punches lyrically or musically yet looks at the issues with poise and compelling endeavour whilst igniting the imagination From the melodramatic slightly sinister and haunting intro Solitude, the album suggests and coaxes thoughts and emotions, often dragging them into the heart of the album as the subsequent songs unleash a compulsive fury.

   The second and title track goes straight for the jugular physically and emotively, riffs and rhythms laying a rapacious hand on the coverears whilst a potent groove entices even greater attention to the emerging storm. The vocals of Jude are soon scowling and barracking with a strong and appealing causticity which is harsh but allows clarity to the lyrical narrative for full inciting effect. Stomping with a thrash bred urgency and hunger the song equally veins its charge with tight and engaging sonic designs around a great throaty bass intimidation, the blend breeding a sound which is somewhere between Testament and Exodus with All That Remains.

     The following Wrath of God raises the temperature and strength of the album to even greater heights from the impressive start, its swipes of acidic guitar flames and predatory intensity clad riffs irresistible especially within a framework of antagonistic and feverish rhythms. A varied scourge of vocals from clean to guttural voracity only accelerates the toxicity of the scintillating track whilst its niggling groove within further thrash fuelled rabidity cements lustful responses for its outstanding tsunami of passion and predation. Its anthemic core is equalled in might by the next up Prophesy Deceit, a deliberately seductive beast with addictive grooves and strict riffery aligned to stalking rhythms and the continuing to please vocal delivery where again the lyrics are allowed a clear persuasion within their raw and combative intent.

     Arguably the two songs make the pinnacle of the album though it is a continuing debate when the likes of Lake of the Traitor, a song dawning on elegant melodies evolving into rasping aggressive incitation developing an eventual contagion which gives little respite in its bait, and the equally addictive scourge Fatal Delay explore their depths with adventure. The second of the pair has a waspish lilt to its riffs and grooves merged into annihilistic ferociousness vocally and sonically. The track epitomises a Sceptre track, eventful, unpredictable, but persistently accessible with the kind of familiarity you embrace rather than dismiss.

    7 Seals employs similar exploits in riffs and grooves to its predecessor and some other tracks but with a raptorial charge to its body and infectious potency to its persuasion makes for a tasty morsel to rage with whilst Parasites (of the State) provides a ruinous expanse of emotive frustration and aural antagonism which only adds further sustenance to an already greedy appetite for the album. Though both songs fail to reach the same levels in adventure and temptation as predecessors neither leaves satisfaction low or pleasure hungry, the same easily applying to Judgement Day (End – A New Beginning), a very decent melodic outro to the album and the following bonus track Lest We Forget which brings the album to an end. The song is more metalcore borne and does fall in the wake of the more trash led adventurous triumphs elsewhere, but it is impossible to ignore the craft and passion igniting its caustic breath and sizeable creativity.

    Age Of Calamity is a gripping and impressively  enjoyable brawl on the senses and emotions which may not be setting new boundaries for thrash/metal as a whole but in providing an intensively thrilling and addictive onslaught of craft and enterprise makes it and Sceptre a must check out and have encounter for 2014.

Age of Calamity will be released on February 9, 2014.

http://sceptreindia.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/SceptreOfficial

8.5/10

RingMaster 29/01/2014

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Avelion – Liquid Breathing

AVELION photo+logo

The tail-end of 2013 as well as festive fun saw the return of Italian metallers Avelion with their second EP, Liquid Breathing. Equipped with a new line-up and sound to that which bred their self-released 2011 debut Cold Embrace, the band returns to the fray with a release which raises questions, spawns a few doubts, but at the end of its persuasion offers plenty to get the imagination going and appetite for Avelion’s for their impending future keen.

Merging essences from melodic and alternative metal, progressive and electronic metal, to metalcore and industrial metal, and Avelion - Liquid Breathing cover artworkthat is just scratching the surface of the three tracks making up Liquid Breathing, Avelion create a sound and adventure which certainly grips attention and at times has the imagination all fired up. The tracks are undoubtedly impressively crafted even if a tempestuous mix which does not always flow or work as successfully as maybe they could. There is so much going on in songs that it is sometimes hard to grip on to particular aspects or moments and thoughts suggests stripping it back would help the tracks to make an even stronger impact, but then that daring to experiment and stretch things is one of many strong elements which makes the band an intriguing and exciting proposition. You feel though as the quintet of vocalist William Verderi, guitarist Gianmarco Soldi, bassist Mark Reggiani, drummer Damiano Gualtieri, and Oreste Giacomini on keys progress and hone their sound further it will all evolve into something which will intensely satisfy.

Liquid Breath starts things off, the track almost Numanesque in its entrance as a dark industrial/gothic breath is spawned by vocals and keys. The song is soon twisting before the ear though as djent bred riffs splinter the air and a rhythmic enticement rigorously leaps over the senses. The vocals of Verderi are a blend of reserved growling tones and clean melodies which works well predominantly, though at times across the EP a sturdier grizzled delivery was crying out to emerge in his tones even if Soldi provided some solid backing scowls of his own. As the track progresses it employs classically seeded keys, electro urgency, and eventually great welcome hellish vocal groans though they are short lived sadly. The encounter continues to leap and turn with ideas to great effect, the song emerging easily the strongest on the release clad in a thick creative promise of where the band is going.

The following Ain’t No Down makes its arrival with haunting monotone spawned keys almost mischievously teasing the senses before launching sinews and intent through an electronic swagger which could grace any Enter Shikari offering. It is an outstanding start with a potency which is almost lost when the song opens up, though those evocative keys continue to probe and coax within the brewing maelstrom. As its predecessor the track moves through flavours and ideas as if they were pick-a-mix but ultimately makes it work through the more intensive aggressive aspects. The rock pop moments are not as successful for personal tastes, slowing down the power and charge of the song and preventing its full expected explosion but equally the poppy chorus is as anthemic and addictive as you would wish so admittedly those questions and doubts raised are continually countered in some respect. When the track is firing on all imaginative cylinders though it really is an imposing treat but just let-down by the mellower restrained moments but nevertheless it still leaves you wanting to hear more.

The EP is closed by Mechanical Faces, a busy track which aligns melodic rock and industrial metal initially before infusing some hard rock revelry and excellent discord devilry. Though not as impressive as the opener the track feels more complete and in control than certainly the second track, that earlier suggested slight restraint on the want to throw multiples spices and threads of imagination at the song a successful option.

When Avelion is intensively going for the jugular they undeniably are at the top of their emerging game, gripping thoughts and emotions much more tightly and invitingly. It maybe is because the difference between the aggression and melodic tempering shown by the band is so pronounced that the tracks ebb and flow too much at times but as Liquid Breath alone shows when the band gets it right they are a force with the potential to raise real passions, though you would not want them to lose that desire to push their inventive limits either, the element which makes even the less successful songs satisfyingly digestible and heavy in promise.

https://www.facebook.com/AvelionMusic.Official/

7.5/10

RingMaster 08/01/2014

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Lucid Skies – Hounds EP

Credit - Tyler Frith

Credit – Tyler Frith

Though seemingly tagged as metalcore, Canadian fury Lucid Skies has a presence which primarily forges ferocious hardcore with metallic spite and melodic enterprise, the resulting sound which not only grabs attention but gives it an exhausting uncompromising examination which veers from imaginative seduction to unbridled and bruising antagonism. The Hounds EP is the impressive second release from the Edmonton quartet, following the Grudge Match EP of last year, and though it is not faultless it is promise soaked and strikingly invigorating.

Formed in 2009, Lucid Skies took little time in drawing notice their way with a sound inspired by the likes of Hatebreed, Comeback Kid, and Holly Springs Disaster. Started by guitarist Jesse Berger, the band was soon at full complement as Berger enlisted vocalist Nick Ogden, bassist Sam Jackson, and drummer Justin Smith. With impressive live performances seeing the band share stages with bands such as with Fall City Fall, Blind Witness, Fall In Archaea, and Breaking Fourth Wall, the foursome has continually enhanced their reputation, the debut EP sparking additional  keen attention which Hounds can only accelerate as the band continues its emergence.

The self-released Berger produced EP, opens with Shotgun Mouthwash and immediately has ears and senses up for its raucous Lucid Skies - Hoods Album Artworkconfrontation. A guitar grazing behind a vocal sample makes the first move before expelling a sonic breath around inviting crisp rhythms and the snarling vocals of Ogden. Group shouts pounce to back up the frontman to great effect and with riffs grilling the senses and rhythms building their punchy commanding presence the track sears the air with metal bred sinews and punk spite. Musically the song sees the band play with their intent and ideas to make for an appealing if restrained adventure, certainly compared to other tracks on the release, whilst the breakdowns and predacious attack of the riffs only add to the lure of the strong if unspectacular starter.

As soon as Left Hook makes its presence known you sense that something extra is at work, an indefinable essence maybe but one which adds an experimentation and bravery absent from its predecessor. The artillery of drum invention from Smith is an instant contagion whilst the grazing riffery only adds to the developing drama and intrigue. Into its muscular and provocative stride, grooves mark the heavy charge of the song whilst the vocals bring the expected venom with relish and power. The bass of Jackson is a throaty bestial stalking within this mix adding to the impressive incitement, though the breakdown to the back end of the song is clumsy but as the promo used was digital one wonders if it might have been a glitch in the transfer. Nevertheless the closing straight hardcore rage brings a great track to a healthy finale and a certain hungry appetite awoken for the EP.

With Eyes is the best song on the release and the most inventive, its body a continual movement of ideas and bold design. Its opening is straight forward enough, a decent hardcore raging but once it drops into a djent inspired prowling of the senses with the guitar a savage provocateur it ignites, grooves and hooks taking us on a keener escapade. Like in the previous songs things wait until the second half to whip the ground from under the feet and light up the imagination with unexpected skilful quests of exploration. The bass is unleashed to intimidate the ears alone, apart from the corruptive influence of the excellent beats of Smith, it developing a delicious groan to its notes which is matched and accentuated by the guitar to addictive effect, so much so that as the track returns to its initial fiery foraging of the ears it is at first a disappointment, but one soon forgotten as the track unloads the rest of its excellent bruising.

Hounds does not venture into the unknown or the band’s imagination enough for personal tastes, that shown up by the third track and its success when doing so, but also the vocal delivery of Ogden is something needing some enterprise too. His attack is excellent and tones as nasty and corrosive as you would wish but also needing some variation to really shine. It is a genre thing, hardcore and metalcore, to unleash one directional squalls so it is hard to be too critical but it is no accident that the best bands do find a vocal diversity to join a musical variation, something Lucid Skies certainly owns.

Completing the EP is Count Me Out, a track with mountainous rhythms and a spiralling sonic beckoning which is soon badgering the ear with intensive and merciless voracity. A metal seeded antagonist with a tempestuous appetite and combativeness, the song like the opener does not sparks the fires as the other two making up Hounds but undoubtedly continues the marking out of Lucid Skies as a stirring force to keep a close eager eye upon. The potential and existing promise of the band is impossible to ignore and their suspected ascent one which will have a hungry audience in times ahead with the Hounds EP, a name Your Own Price release at the band’s Bandcamp profile, an excellent place to climb on board the ride.

http://lucidskies.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/LUCIDSKIES780

8/10

RingMaster 03/12/2013

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